- Tricking the Thyroid into Committing Suicide
Some of you may be wondering how things went at the med center where they make you glow or light up or emit radioactivity while you drive home.
I asked my husband to come along so in case I was feeling weird or whatever, I'd be sure to get back and not have to drive. And then later it was good that he was there so that he could hear the doctors give the precautions which are mainly for HIS and other people's protection. If I had been receiving as much radioactive iodine as someone who had cancer. I'd have had to stay in a hospital room for a few days but I just have to follow some rules.
I can't cuddle little kids on my lap for 3 days. We are supposed to use separate bathrooms and I must flush twice after going. Then I have to wash my hands twice. I have to sleep in a separate bed for 6 nights! :-( Weird! I feel lonely already. I am supposed to stay at least 3 feet away from people. The doc compared it to giving off heat like a radiator. Small brief exposures don't transfer much heat. Prolonged exposure is to be avoided.
I was going to eat out on the way home but realized that wasn't a good idea.
The final dose of the radioactive iodine is provided in a small glass vial encased in a disproportionately large thick metal container that you'd expect to see at Three Mile Island behind a forbidding barrier. I had to stand on a disposable diaper with a disposable diaper taped to my chest and wear rubber gloves while leaning forward under a hood to suck up the radioactive stuff through a straw. The assistant who also wore rubber gloves stood nearby watching. I wonder if she was instructed to watch for someone trying to sneak some into their pocket?
Now my thyroid gland is committing suicide as it greedily sucks up the radioactive iodine in my system. "Yum yum yum," says the thyroid gland, followed by "Ack ack ack" as it self destructs. The self destruction part isn't completed for a while. Weeks or months.
In 3 days I can be part of the world again. I canceled concert tickets that I was given free for Friday night. No way I can watch a concert in the opera house and stay 3 feet away from someone.
One more slightly interesting thing about this treatment. Would you assume that if your thyroid sucked up a LOT of the tracer iodine that they give you before doing the scan that you'd be taking MORE of the therapeutic radioactive iodine than someone whose thyroid sucked up LESS tracer iodine? Read that sentence again if you are confused. Or .... to put it simply ..... if it seemed that your thyroid was MORE sick than someone else's, would you expect to get MORE radioactive iodine or less?
The true answer is that you are given LESS radioactive iodine in the final therapeutic dose if your thyroid is greedy and sucks up more of the tracer iodine. My thyroid sucked up 80.8% of the tracer iodine which they said was high. So I was given LESS of the big kahuna iodine. I was given 12 millicuries.
The reason being that a thyroid that is sucking up a LOT of iodine will suck up more of the destructive radioactive iodine, thereby speeding its own demise. A wimpy thyroid that only sips at the tracer iodine has to get HAMMERED (doctor's own words) with the radioactive iodine to get enough into it to make it self destruct.
So my thyroid just stepped up there and said, "Give me that iodine please" and it gobbled it right in as though radioactive iodine was a banana split. Thank you, Thyroid. So fewer millicuries. I wish this worked for other things in life. Like calories. More calories, less weight. That might not be a good comparison but it is the first one that occurs to me.
Snicks said glowingly